Recently Straits Times reported that nearly 1 in 5 Singapore employees fear to lose their jobs to automation. We are on the cusp of the age of automation and artificial intelligence. So are you embracing or worrying about the future?

A Japanese girl holding the hand of a smart robot.
Automations are real. Robots are real. – © Andy Kelly

Automation actually began long ago

So there are self-driving cars and robots security guards now. It sounds very sci-fi but driverless transportation has been in Singapore for a while now. We’ve had the LRT since 1999 and the North East Line since 2003. Our North East Line is the first fully underground driverless mass rapid transit systems in the world.

Will we lose our jobs to robots?

Some of us have already lost our jobs to foreign works, so will we start losing even more jobs to robots now? But as of today, your jobs are still safe because the cost of renting a robot at the present is far higher than hiring a human. Currently, security robots cost more than S$7,500 to rent. Despite the costs, more robots will continue to be created because many industries are facing high turnover rates and labour shortages.

Yet not everyone is afraid

Despite the growing possibility that robots will replace humans, a survey conducted by randstad shows that majority of employees do not fear the automation stealing their jobs. On the contrary, these employees felt that automation will only make their job better.  “It’s exhausting to clean these wide floor areas by ourselves,” said 69-year-old Tan Tiong Wah, one of 150 housekeepers, “Using these robots makes life easier for us.”

Automation, Job, Singapore
The results of a survey conducted by randstad.

How I feel

Since young, I have always wanted to see those robots in the movies in real life. But until the day I can have a meaningful conversation with a robot, I will still choose to be with humans.